Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Red Snapper) is a classic fish dish from Veracruz, Mexico.
The dish is a classic example of the cuisine of the southern coastal region of Eastern Mexico. It has been called the signature dish of the state of Veracruz. It combines ingredients and cooking methods from Spain and from pre-colonial Mexico. The use of olives and capers give something of a Mediterranean flavour to the dish, and show the Spanish influence.
Traditionally a whole red snapper is used, gutted and de-scaled and marinated in lime juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic. A sauce is made of onions, garlic, tomato, jalapenos, olives and herbs, and the fish is baked with the sauce until tender. Capers and raisins may also be used. If red snapper is not available, another type of rockfish may be substituted. The dish is traditionally served with small roasted potatoes and Mexican-style white rice.
- ½ cup virgin olive oil
- 18 small potatoes - (about 600g), peeled
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 8 cups canned chopped tomatoes, drained
- ½ cup pitted green olives
- ½ cup dark raisins
- 1½ tablespoons capers, drained
- ¾ tablespoon minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 6 red snapper fillet pieces - (about 170 g ea)
- 6 chillies, (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan or deep skillet until it just begins to smoke. Add the potatoes and fry them until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Scoop out the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside; they will be fully cooked later.
- Add the onion to the skillet and fry over medium-high heat until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat until tender and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and remaining ingredients except the fish and chillies. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes longer. If the sauce becomes quite dry, add a cup or so of water.
- Check the sauce for seasoning, adding more salt to taste. Arrange the fillets over the sauce, folding the thin ends under, and press down gently so they are fully submerged. Cook until the fish is just opaque through, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Carefully lift the fillets from the sauce and arrange them on individual plates. Spoon some potatoes alongside and top the fish with plenty of sauce. Top each fillet with a chilli, if using, and serve right away.